TIME TO COMMENT ON YOUR COUNCIL’S BUDGET
Consultation is now open for the community to make submissions on the draft Budget for 2022/2023, as Council works alongside staff to finalise its long-term financial plan in tough economic conditions. The exhibition period will also include Council’s long term financial plan, statement of revenue policy and other associated documents. Submissions are invited until 5pm Monday 30 May 2022.
The draft documents will guide Council’s activities over the next 12 months, and demonstrate how Council will achieve the objectives of the 2040 Community Strategic Plan.
Mayor of Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) Mathew Dickerson said there are many circumstances out of Council’s control that will influence the outcome of the final adopted budget in June. “Unfortunately, this Council has inherited a less than ideal financial position. Many things have contributed to this but this Council is not here to make excuses, we are here to produce positive results,” said Councillor Dickerson.
“The staff at Council have been extremely diligent in preparing a plan to see DRC return to a state of long-term financial security. The plan will only be successful if we as a community work together, make some tough decisions and have the understanding that we are working towards a common goal,” he said.
DRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Murray Wood, said Councillors have had a steep learning curve on what it costs to run a community. “We have held multiple workshops to take Councillors on the budget journey. It has been a tall task but we are confident that our planning processes will work. The community now has the opportunity to make their own comments about the proposed budget, which includes the fees and charges associated with Council run facilities.
“The community may notice we have proposed to increase certain fees and charges, we know this isn’t ideal, especially off the back of the pandemic, but in order to maintain our current levels of service, plan for ongoing maintenance and asset renewal, we have had to bring charges in line with the costs associated with the delivery of service,” said Mr Wood.
As part of the plan to achieve financial sustainability, Council has placed two versions of the long-term financial plan on display.
“During the uncertain economic climate in 2020, Council took a conservative approach and planned for a rate peg of 2.3 per cent in the adopted 2021-22 Long Term Financial Plan. However, in late 2021, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) announced a rate peg for the 2022-23 financial year of 0.7 per cent. A rate peg that is lower than 2.5 per cent will reduce the level of funding available for the maintenance of essential assets and the provision of community services. The NSW Government and (IPART) have since agreed to allow NSW councils to apply for a one-off special variation for the 2022-23 financial year only,” said Mr Wood.
“I’d like to encourage the community to support the one-off special variation Council is proposing of 2.3 per cent, which will result in the revenue collected from rates as a whole to increase by 2.3 per cent, approximately $600,000.
“The risk of not considering applying for the special variation includes missing the opportunity to invest in community infrastructure and additional services,” said Mr Wood.
The community can make submissions online and in writing until 5pm, Monday 30 May 2022.
Last Edited: 04 May 2022